US Launches Airstrikes On 85 Targets In Iraq, Syria With 125 Bombs

US launches airstrikes on 85 targets in Iraq and Syria with 125 bombs

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a commemoration for the late Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in 2020 in Iraq, at the Imam Khomeini grand mosque in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. Two bombs exploded Wednesday at a commemoration for a prominent Iranian general, Iranian officials said. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

In a significant retaliation after the deadly attack on American forces in Jordan, US warplanes and warships launched a series of precise strikes on associated targets this Friday. A defense official detailed that these strikes were a direct response to the unfortunate incident that claimed the lives of three US service members.

The intensity of conflict has been intensifying across the Middle East following an attack by Hamas on Israeli soil on October 7, which resulted in approximately 1,200 fatalities. Israel’s subsequent military response in Gaza has led to the deaths of 26,000 Palestinians based on figures released by Gaza’s health ministry.

Since October, a variety of militant factions, allegedly armed and trained by Iran, have executed over 200 attacks that have destabilized the region. These assaults have ranged from missile strikes by Houthi forces in Yemen, targeting major commercial maritime routes in the Red Sea, to consistent attacks on US military personnel stationed across Iraq, Syria, and Jordan.

The strategy of the Pentagon has included calculated airstrikes to disrupt the capabilities of the Houthi forces, particularly concerning missile deployment and radar operations. Sites in Iraq utilized for rocket and missile launches have also been targeted. Both White House and Pentagon representatives, however, have continually emphasized their desire to avoid becoming embroiled in an all-encompassing conflict in the Middle East.

Prior to Sunday, the tactics employed by the militants had predominantly resulted in minor injuries and negligible damage to the infrastructure of the military bases in the region. The situation took a grave turn at Tower 22 base in Jordan, situated close to the Syrian border, where a hostile drone was mistakenly identified as an ally and subsequently permitted entry; this breach resulted in significant casualties, US officials stated.

Presently, the US maintains a deployment of roughly 3,000 troops across Iraq, Syria, and Jordan, whose primary role is to provide advisory support to local forces combating ISIS remnants.

Addressing the incident, President Joe Biden ascribed indirect responsibility to the Iranian government for the deaths of the American soldiers, implicating Iranian-supplied weaponry in the attack. He assured reporters on Tuesday that a response to these actions was inevitable.

A recent study by Defense Priorities, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, in association with YouGov, an online survey company, discovered a lack of awareness among the American public about US troop deployments in Syria. Moreover, even those who acknowledged this presence did not exhibit strong support for the administration’s justification of these deployments, namely, the prevention of an ISIS resurgence. The poll, administered before the Jordan attack, also noted a decline in support for US military presence in Syria corresponding to an increase in American casualties.